Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The Man-Booker Long List 2009



There are no surprises this year - all the usual suspects are there. A feast of reading for anyone able to get hold of them.

AS Byatt - The Children's Book
JM Coetzee - Summertime
Adam Foulds - The Quickening Maze
Sarah Hall - How to Paint a Dead Man
Samantha Harvey - The Wilderness
James Lever - Me Cheeta
Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall
Simon Mawer - The Glass Room
Ed O'Loughlin - Not Untrue & Not Unkind
James Scudamore - Heliopolis
Colm Toibin - Brooklyn
William Trevor - Love and Summer
Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger

The only book on this list that I've managed to acquire so far is Sarah Hall's How to Paint a Dead Man, sitting on my bedside table. How I'm going to get hold of the others, I don't know - the library copies will disappear immediately. This is the major problem for a book-aholic - how to afford your weekly fix (on an author's income). I daren't go on Amazon for fear of bankruptcy (Oh, the temptation of 'buy-with-one-click!!). I raid the libraries, but these days they are somewhat cash-strapped and small rural libraries are the worst affected. Book stocks have suffered. Second hand shops are my next call, but even Oxfam are charging £2.50 for a paperback these days, and the books people are throwing out are often clones of the ones I have at home. So I usually read the latest publications months after everyone else.

There are four books I'm waiting avidly for - not due out for a few more weeks and so not eligible for The List. They are:

John Banville, The Infinities
Margaret Atwood The Year of the Flood
Thomas Kineally The People's Train
Alice Munro 's latest short stories

Alice Munro is easily one of the greatest fiction writers of the past decade, yet she never makes it to the Booker Prize list - because she writes short stories. So why don't we see short story writers on the list? It is a prize for Fiction, after all - we're missing out on some of the greatest writing of all.

3 comments:

  1. O' the curse of a book junkie's habit!
    I must say I don't often visit Amazon, but a trip to my local bookshop can be dangerous to my bank balance.
    Though I have to admit the pile of books I usually manage to find mostly gets whittled down to a single, solitary, specimen. And even that I usually have to just put on my wish list in the interest of feeding my poor children.

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  2. In the states we have this wonderful website - paperback book swap. It is free to join, you just have to list ten books you are willing to ship if requested, and you earn 'credits' for shipping books. Your only cost is the shipping when you send a book. You receive books for free. It is the most wonderful service!

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  3. Hi Elizabeth and Al - I think the paperback book swap is a great idea! I would do that all the time - what a pity it doesn't exist in the UK. Now there's an idea for someone?
    X Kathleen

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